Backward compatibility is a big deal in the gaming world, and when Sony announced its PS4 console, much of the talk was about the lack of any ability to play those back catalogues of games that everyone had spent the last few years accumulating. Sony has since sought to rectify that by announcing PlayStation Now, the game streaming service that will see PS3 games streamed over the Internet, but there is no local support being added to consoles.
While this is all well and good for PS3 titles, what about those classic PS2 and PlayStation games that enthusiasts love so much? If the original Tomb Raider is your bag, then being able to play Lara’s first outing on your PS4 is something you’d enjoy, and it seems Sony is getting ready to accommodate just that.
A source inside Sony’s streaming service team has said that while PS3 games will only be streamable via PlayStation Now, older PlayStation and PS2 games will actually be able to run locally using hardware emulation, something Sony hasn’t done since the early PS3 days. Software emulation via PSN has since been the order of the day for Sony’s PlayStation brand, but the idea of hardware support returning to the brand will please hardcore gamers.
Part of that hardware emulation is Sony’s aim to try and get enhanced HD visuals into the mix. Many of the past generations’ biggest hits have had HD remixes over the years, and improved HD support across the board for PlayStation and PS2 titles would most definitely be a welcome addition.
While hardware support is great news though, we can’t help but be much more interested in PlayStation Now. From a purely technical standpoint, streaming HD games over the Internet without having the video and input lag that plagued startups like Onlive is no mean feat, though with Sony’s clout and tactical business purchases of late, we wouldn’t put it past them. Early indications have been roundly positive, so we may not need hardware support after all!
But it would’ve been great that such things were cleared up at the announcement of the PS4 itself. After all, adding bits and pieces after the launch somewhat lays most of the excitement to rest.